Diapers? Fugettaboutit! The Mafia’s Guide to Potty Training

The first rule of potty training is to realize that each toddler is different. Some children first start using the toilet at age 1, some at age 2, while others (like my daughter), sometime during their sophomore year of college.

We’ve tried everything on our 3- year-old, including buying her a regular potty seat. That didn’t work, so my parents upgraded her to a Disney Princess potty seat. I guess the theory being that plopping your butt cheeks down on a picture of Cinderella’s face encourages bowel transit.

After some Internet research, we learned that you can wean your daughter off diapers by letting her pick out her own “big girl” underwear. Supposedly she’ll be protective of it and not want to soil them. So I Googled the phrase “little girls underwear.” Any minute now, I expect a knock on my door from the Mesa County sheriff’s sex crimes unit.

At Target’s website, the offerings included both My Pretty Pony and Hello Kitty underwear. There are even Minnie Mouse panties. Obviously. Because when you’re feeling discomfort and bladder pressure, what you want is to look down and see a rodent in a polka-dot dress. But all of this is just window shopping;  I know she’ll go for the Disney Princess underwear, seeing as how everything in our house is Disney Princess-themed, ranging from cups and bed sheets to my 6½ inch cordless circular saw.

She skipped Cinderella in favor of the “Spider Man” underwear. It’s not what you think a little girl would choose, but what do I care? It’s not like anyone else can see them. Plus I plan on being the only male to ever see my daughter’s underwear until she is like 48 or so.

Unfortunately, the Spider Man underwear trick failed. We did, however, see some progress when she wore her Thomas the Train underwear. I’m not sure if it was because she was protective of them, or if it was because I duct-taped her to the potty seat.

All I know is that I’m going to start using these types of Mafioso techniques on her. I’ve watched lots of mob movies and those guys always have a thorough understanding into the motivations of the human psyche.

Their most powerful method involves the threat of punishment. Think of the Tony “The Ant” Spilotro character played by Joe Pesci in “Casino.” If Tony the Ant needed to potty train someone, he and an “associate” would come over to your house and take a baseball bat to the legs of her Barney the Dinosaur doll, while telling her that this is the sort of thing that happens to people and miniature synthetic replicas of tyrannosaurus rex who refuse to use the potty. This would make her go to the bathroom.

It would me. I’d go right there.

A less-effective method, but one also less likely to result in a custody hearing, involves the use of “positive reinforcement,” or as some people call it, “bribes.”

A good example is the scene in “Goodfellas” where Ray Liotta takes a date to a nightclub and passes out $100 bills to the doorman, bouncer and others to get a table up front. Unfortunately you can’t bribe your toddler with a hundred dollar bill. She’ll cut it into triangles and glue it to her Disney Princess coloring book. (“Look, Daddy! I’m making crafts.”)

But desperate times call for desperate measures. I’m going to make her an offer she can’t refuse. I don’t want to have to go all Mafia on her, but if she’s not going to use the potty soon, well ... then let’s just say that I know a guy who knows a guy, who, for a price, has proven himself to be discreet and effective in “fixing” these sorts of things.

His name is Thomas the Train.

Reach Steve Beauregard at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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